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31 May, 2010 05:55

Identical twins: the secret to joining elite army regiment

They are the face of the Russian army – the 154th commandant regiment has witnessed many historic events. Getting through the selection process is anything but simple, but if you are a twin you are in.

It is the elite unit of the Russian army. The 154th commandant regiment is on the front line during Victory Day Parades and high-level delegation meetings.

“We do not have room for mistakes,” said commander of the regiment Lieutenant Colonel Baryshev Mikhail.

“Of course many people can say that about their profession, especially in the military, but literally – we cannot tell presidents: please, could you come out of the plane once again? Or – could you enter the room again please?” he added.

While the regiment is the ceremonial face of the Russian army, its faces are the matter of very careful consideration.

To become part of this unit young men go through a tough selection process. Everything is important: their height, skin complexion and even the colour of their eyes.

By looking at them you might think they are all twins and that is actually not far from the truth. In fact, the 1500 soldier unit boasts 15 pairs of twins.

“There is a real sense of occasion when such smartly dressed soldiers lay a wreath to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but it is even more of a spectacle when they are twins,” said commander of the Guard of Honour major Dmitry Strekha.

Viktor and Dmitry Gor remember how their mother used to dress them in identical clothes. They never liked it, and once old enough to go their own way, it is no surprise they tried their hardest not to appear alike.

However, a decade later the boys once again look much the same. Still, the uniform of their regiment is something they are actually rather proud of.

“Look how beautiful it is! This aglet, and buckle – they are gilded!” said Dmitry.

“It is just a great honour for us to be part of this unit. We feel that people look at us with admiration and respect,” Victor added.

However, no matter how specialist the unit may be, it is still the army and that means a world of strictly scheduled life and harsh discipline. Nevertheless, as Viktor and Dmitry say, you win if you are a twin.